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The Monk Downstairs (Plus) [Paperback]

By Tim Farrington (Author)
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Item description for The Monk Downstairs (Plus) by Tim Farrington...

After twenty years in a contemplative monastery, Michael Christopher moves into a San Francisco apartment, where he confronts a major spiritual crisis and finds himself drawn to his landlady, Rebecca. Reader's Guide available. Reissue.

Publishers Description

Rebecca Martin is a single mother with an apartment to rent and a sense that she has used up her illusions. I had the romantic thing with my first husband, thank you very much, she tells a hapless suitor. I'm thirty-eight years old, and I've got a daughter learning to read and a job I don't quite like. I don't need the violin music. But when the new tenant in her in-law apartment turns out to be Michael Christopher, on the lam after twenty years in a monastery and smack dab in the middle of a dark night of the soul, Rebecca begins to suspect that she is not as thoroughly disillusioned as she had thought.

Her daughter, Mary Martha, is delighted with the new arrival, as is Rebecca's mother, Phoebe, a rollicking widow making a new life for herself among the spiritual eccentrics of the coastal town of Bolinas. Even Rebecca's best friend, Bonnie, once a confirmed cynic in matters of the heart, urges Rebecca on. But none of them, Rebecca feels, understands how complicated and dangerous love actually is.

As her unlikely friendship with the ex-monk grows toward something deeper, and Michael wrestles with his despair while adjusting to a second career flipping hamburgers at McDonald's, Rebecca struggles with her own temptation to hope. But it is not until she is brought up short by the realities of life and death that she begins to glimpse the real mystery of love, and the unfathomable depths of faith.

Beautifully written and playfully engaging, this novel. is about one man wrestling with his yearning for a life of contemplation and the need for a life of action in the world. But it's Rebecca's spirit, as well as her relationships with Mary Martha, Phoebe, her irresponsible surfer ex-husband Rory -- and, of course, the monk downstairs -- that makes this story shine.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: HarperOne
Pages   301
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.25" Height: 8"
Weight:   0.52 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 23, 2006
Publisher   HarperOne
ISBN  0061122424  
ISBN13  9780061122422  

Availability  0 units.

More About Tim Farrington

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Tim Farrington is the author of Lizzie's War, The Monk Downstairs, --a New York Times Notable Book--and The Monk Upstairs, as well as the critically acclaimed novels The California Book of the Dead and Blues for Hannah.

Tim Farrington currently resides in the state of Virginia.

Tim Farrington has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Harper Collins Spiritual Classics

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States

Reviews - What do customers think about The Monk Downstairs (Plus)?

Ummm...I liked it  Jan 26, 2008
I read this book. I liked this book. How's that for an articulate insightful review?
Delightful reading  Aug 29, 2007
This gleeful, spiritual creation of Tim Farrington is an indescribable delight. It points to the beauty and depth of his soul and to the hope and joy that is the proper future of mankind. I loved it and in tandem with the sequel, a miraculous vision of hope emerges which will make you grow in quiet joy.
Love is where you find it  May 23, 2007
It's a straightforward plot: a 38-year old single mother of one rents her garage apartment to a former monk who has renounced the monastic life after 20 years. She is lonely, just ending an unsatisfactory relationship with a maybe-I-should-settle-for-less boyfriend; he is a contemplative, looking for silence rather than love. The blossoming of their relationship is rocky because her personal problems and his need for apartness both intrude.

It's not quite a typical love story. His battle with God (or with himself, it's not clear which) is a real one, which is revealed through a series of letters to a friend at the monastery; her issues are also treated very thoughtfully. There's no attempt to simplify the messiness of the characters' lives. It's a quick read, but not a shallow one, and all the characters, even the peripheral ones, are treated with respect, tenderness, even love. There are no villains or heroes here. I liked it very much, and am now planning to read the sequel, The Monk Upstairs: A Novel.
Honest to life and spirituality  May 21, 2007
I've spent the past few months reading only Self Development, New Age, Religious books - so I was ready for some fiction. I chose the right book. This novel blends every day life, the day to day just BEING of it, with a spiritual life saver.....not heavily, just "hey, you've got to live your life, and if you take notice of it - there's also that elusive "something else" out there/in here that goes along with you. I love the way you get to understand Michael Christopher through his letters to his old abbey. How those letters explain where Michael is coming from, and what he's learning. Being a single Mom myself too, the way the author describes Rebecca's life is soooo accurate - (BTW - I love the use of biblical names - Mary Martha, Rebecca, etc...even the street and bus names!) I had to remind myself it was written by a MAN!

I read this book in one night - could NOT stop turning the pages - I highly, highly recommend it and thank the author for a great piece of work.

Be blessed and keep smiling.
Utterly enchanting....  Nov 11, 2006
One of the best and most delightful books I've read this year (2006). Farrington has it just right and I was rather convinced that he was a religious, but evidently not. I did have a problem with the monk explaining in a letter to his former superior what the Bible related about Mary and Martha, I mean, REALLY! While I understand the device, it was pretty silly. I don't know how else he could have done it, but had I been his editor (of which I'm very capable), I'd'a called him on it. Moreover, he had a bride walking toward her groom to Mendelssohn, which is a recessional, brides marching TO Wagner. Not only that, but it wasn't so long ago that there was no music permitted in church that wasn't WRITTEN expressly for the church. No matter, NO ONE would walk up the aisle to the exhuberant strains of A Midsummer Night's Dream, really, one would have to skip.

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